Can Gamification Assist Learning? A Study to Design and Explore the Uses of Educational Music Games for Adults and Young Learners

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  • Source:
    Journal of Educational Computing Research, v60 n8 p2015-2035 Jan 2023.
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    Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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    • Abstract:
      The study aimed to examine the learning effects of integrating various game elements into game-based learning materials to enhance learning for learners of different age groups. Two sets of game-based music learning materials were designed. The version with full game characteristics was developed with a narrative story, diverse game behaviors, and game mechanisms, while the simple design version kept basic game behaviors only for game interaction, and removed other game-based elements. A total of 50 young students and 41 adults were invited to participate in the experiment and separately use the two versions of the game-based materials. In order to understand how their performance changed and their reflections on the use of the game-based learning materials, a pre- and post-test, questionnaire and interview were conducted, and the data were analyzed. Despite learners in various age groups having different preferences regarding the game design, the statistical analysis revealed that the simple version helped the learners of both age groups to achieve better learning performance than the full version. The game-based environments proved to be helpful for promoting students' learning motivation and performance, but the results suggest that instead of designing educational games with as many gamification elements as possible, game developers should take learners' cognitive learning load and information processing ability into consideration when developing games. The game elements could be refined through reducing overly complicated game mechanisms and keeping the basic game-like interaction so as to achieve both the instruction purpose and gameplay engagement.
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